August 6:  A wonderful one-day conference               Recharge and reconnect in a beautiful setting

Fayette County Park / 9 - 5 / All sessions in outdoor pavilions 

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Treat yourself to a wonderful day with wonderful people -  including the Fayette Countians who created Adventure: Fayette County, above.

       Breakout Sessions 

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Three themes kept coming up when we listed possible breakout sessions for this smaller conference: Getting youth involved with healthy activities, prevention of depression/ substance misuse, and growing local healthy-community leadership. 

Actually, each breakout session is about all three!  Try This was created to network West Virginians who want to make it easier for people in their communities to get healthy food and be active. Healthy food and physical activity lower the risk of obesity and chronic diseases ... and the risk of depression - a major gateway to substance misuse.  


Involving youth in healthy, positive activities


Get local kids engaged in local recreation: a model program -  The outdoor adventure industry is growing fast in WV, but too many West Virginia kids don’t yet participate, while out-off-state tourist kids paddle, climb rocks, hike and enjoy zip lines.  Get ideas from an outstanding Fayette County program aimed at getting local WV kids involved with the healthy, exciting opportunities their home state offers, while lowering the risk of substance abuse.  It's run through the 4H, so couldn't it go statewide? Aleah Denny directs Fayette County’s 4H Adventure Club, which actually gets high-school students climbing rocks, paddling, hiking, and flying through the trees on zip lines. Youth participants will help present!


The Never Bored Board and the FunRaiser: A youth-directed / adult-mentored afterschool program.                                                         Three years ago, a bunch of Wheeling kids with no parks to play in came up with the idea for the FunRaiser,  a panel truck packed with play items that creates regular pop-up play festivals in parts of the city that have  no park or playground. The project board is composed of kids and overseen by adults. It works! Come find out how you might incorporate elements of this program in yours. This fun session will be presented by Wheeling kids and their mentor, Gabrielle Marshall, program coordinator.

A county-wide campaign to lower the risk of youth obesity, depression and substance misuse. This summer, the Adventure: Fayette County project targets all 3rd and 4th graders and their families with an array of healthy activities, overseen by the county prevention coalition and the Fayette County ICE project. The ICE project is part of WVU’s effort to build on the success of Iceland's Planet Youth project, which found, among other things, that when kids become involved in positive activity, the risk of using drugs and alcohol dropped significantly. Come find out more and get ideas or your own county!  Katie Johnson directs Fayette County’s ICE project; Sue Wood directs Adventure: Fayette County for elementary kids and their families.  The two programs collaborate.


Mindful physical activity to help kids deal with stress and trauma.  In 2020-21, 347 elementary school staffers got training in activities and tools that help kids lower stress and counter trauma, in a grant overseen by Try This. Now they’ll share with you! The presenters, including two principals, will describe the impact on their schools and kids and give you activities you can use to help children deal positively with stress, in or out or the classroom. Jenny Harden, principal of Greenbrier County’s Rupert Elementary; staff and students of Oak Hill’s New River Elementary. 


Start and expand a youth running program.  Active Southern WV has had great success is starting numerous youth running groups in southern WV. If you'd like to do the same in your area, you'll be glad you spent an hour with Active SWV staff.  Geot step by step directions for what you need to do to ensure success.  This session will be facilitated by India Krawczyk, Active Southern WV's Kids Run Club Director.


Afternoon roundtable: Getting youth involved in planning their own programs.  This is a great way to grow future leaders. All the youth organizations at the conference will take part. We hope you will too, perhaps after taking in one or more of the above sessions. How can you take an existing organization and incorporate youth into the planning? All our presenters from youth organizations will be there to kick it off and take part in the discussion.

Physical Activity and healthy food as tools in prevention

Healthy Food: a tool in the fight against substance abuse and diabetes.  A healthy diet is a helpful tool in substance abuse recovery and lowering the risk of obesity and chronic disease. Food can also provide job training for people in recovery.  Kanawha County’s Pollen8 program runs a recovery program and Café Appalachia, where people in recovery get culinary-industry training. In Martinsburg, patients at WVU's diabetes clinic get prescriptions for fresh food, then can get free samples and recipes at the clinic's Farm to You pop-up market. Logan County’s Grow Appalachia program helps people grow home gardens and also collaborates with the SouthWestern Day Recovery Program’s Fresh Start program. Join Cheryl Laws, Carla Toolan, and Bea Sias for an idea-packed discussion.

Fresh Food for Everybody: tools for your project. You’ll leave this session with lots of new ideas! Find out what the WV Department of Agriculture and the WV Food and Farm Coalition have to offer your local gardeners. Hear from a Logan County organizer who has helped hundreds of families grow part of their own food. Find out how the Turnrow Farm Collective makes it possible for small growers to get their food to market. Lacy Davidson, dietician and small business promoter for the Agriculture Department.  Sierra    Cox, Regional Foodshed Coordinator for WV Food and Farm Coalition; Bea Sias, Logan County Grow Appalachia; Susanna Wheeler, Director of New Roots Community Farm.

Build a disc golf course and get people on it.  (We listed this session under substance abuse prevention, but we could easily have listed it under Youth.) This hands-on workshop will help you try disc golf and get advice about ways you might plan a course for your school, community, church or whatever. Disc golf is a low-cost way to get people exercising, once you have land for the course. Come check it out.  Your instructor will be the go-to guy who created the 18-hole course at the Park!  Andrew Sullivan directs New River Gorge Disc Golf

A Type 2 Diabetes support group can make all the difference.  People with Type 2 diabetes need more than information and medication or a new diet. Studies show that people who have a support group do better! Social worker Linda Stein is a champion of running support groups. Meet with her and members of a recent group to get ideas about how you can start one in your community.  Dan Doyle, M.D. (Linda’s husband) will join the session for the medical perspective. Linda Stein and Dan Doyle worked together at New River Health Center in Fayette County for many years. They are now semi-retired and still involved!

Tai Chi: good medicine for just about any group you can name. As director of West Virginia’s Chi Lin Tai Chi group, Ron Wilkerson has presented programs for groups ranging from the Public Employees Insurance Agency to substance abuse recovery programs. He and his team love best to offer programs to the children of West Charleston. "It's all about prevention - of whatever," he says. He and his team will be talking about the way you can build a varied program for children around one core activity - in their case, tai chi. In the afternoon, you can take part in a big tai chi experience on the green with dozens of others. Ron Wilkerson and other members of the Chi Lin collective will present.


Special activity: Try standup paddle-boarding (SUP)!  In this afternoon session, you can actually try standup paddleboarding in the park's pond and the presenter will give you helpful info on how you might help develop a way for people in your area to enjoy stand-up paddleboarding too!  If you want to take part in this activity, bring a bathing suit and sign up early after registration opens! Evan Young oversees the Healthy Alternatives program, the prevention arm of Putnam Wellness.  He also owns Appalachian Board Company, which partnered with Healthy Alternatives to get more than 1,000 Putnam Countians out on the water last year.

Growing new community leaders of all ages.

Teambuilding: the first step.  How can your team work together most effectively to carry out a successful project? How can you involve people who could help? In a participatory workshop, veteran organizer Stephen Smith will take you through a critical set of questions and actions you can take at the beginning of your project to increase the chances it will succeed and grow. Each minigrant is encouraged to attend this session.  Stephen Smith is Co-Chair of West Virginia Can't Wait.

What can communities do to promote positive, healthy development?  The New River Gorge being designated a national park raises questions for Fayette County. Development is inevitable. How can development be steered in a healthy direction? We’ll examine the way this question applies to Fayetteville, and your community, too! Gabe Peña, Fayette County Commission’s Resource Coordinator, will facilitate the discussion. He is also an elected member of the Fayetteville Town Council and Chair of the New River Health Association Board of Directors.  Daniel Eades and Doug Arbogast from WVU Extension’s Tourism Development Unit will join him to present state-level information and advice for WV towns. Amanda Workman from the WV Community Development Hub will tell how the Hub's programs can help.

Getting and keeping volunteers. Nobody does a better job of working with volunteers than Active Southern WV! In their four-county area, they have done an amazing job of locating people who volunteer each week to lead an activity that will help their community become a healthier place. See for more info. Come to this session for ideas and inspiration for your own community projects.  Melanie Seiler is Director of Active Southern WV; Two community captains.

Create a healthy-community coalition for your community. Get ideas from four coalitions in different stages of development. Putnam County’s Healthy Alternatives has had big success in getting people out on trails and rivers.  The Fayette Prevention Coalition offers Adventure: Fayette County to every third and fourth-grader. The program targets physical activity as one way of involving youth in healthy activities and lowering risk of substance abuse. Presenters include Evan Young, Putnam Wellness Coalition; Carri Strunk, Fayette Prevention Coalition; Greg Puckett, Southern WV Prevention Lead Organization.

Community Coaching: Growing your ability to help make your town healthier and more prosperous.  The WV Community Development Hub specializes in helping people like you acquire skills that help you make positive change in your town. People aren't just born with these skills. Effective organizers learn, study and improve on their skills over the years. In this session, Amanda Workman-Scott and Stacy Thomas from the Hub will give you an overview, and you'll leave with information about steps you could take next.  See this Web page for more info.

2021-22 Minigrants Session.  This should be fun. Come hear about a smorgasbord of projects. People on teams of the new Try This 2021-22 minigrant projects will meet each other for the first time. Each will give an elevator speech about what they hope to do. The Try This director will coach them for success.  If you’re thinking about applying for a minigrant next year, this would be a good session to attend. Brittney Barlett is the Try This WV Director.  

​Afternoon Roundtable: Getting all kinds of people involved in your program.  What does “equity” mean for programs aimed at preventing obesity, depression and chronic disease? Are we reaching the people who need prevention the most? All the youth programs at the conference, for instance, are intentionally set up to involve low-income kids and a diversity of races and lifestyles.  What steps can programs take to make that happen? 

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